I have two confessions: 1) I had never heard of Epirus, and 2) nor had I ever given any thought to hiking in Greece.
I was excited to learn about hiking in Epirus, Greece. I’m an avid hiker who’s in the Alps almost every weekend. Someone who’s done epic hikes like the Tour du Mont Blanc, in France, Italy, and Switzerland and the Alta Via 1 in Italy. But hiking in Greece? Nope.
Is There More to Greece than Beaches and Islands?
I don’t think I’m alone in this. When I passed on my two confessions to Dimitra from Greece Tourism, she sighed and said All people think about is beaches and islands (like the gorgeous island of Mykonos) when they think of Greece, and there’s so much more.
After spending several days exploring North Pindos National Park, I’m torn. Part of me wants to keep the secret to myself. The other part wants to shout from the rooftops Go to Greece for AMAZING hiking!!!!!
I’ll settle for somewhere in between by writing a blog post.
Recommended Reading: Hiking in Greece: The Top 9 Places
Why You’ll Want to Go Hiking in Epirus, Greece
Even when you’re not hiking among ancient Greek ruins, you’re still following historical paths. North Pindos National Park is famous for its arch bridges.
At one time there were 125, today there are approximately 75. Besides looking pretty, they served the important role of connecting villages both to each other and to the outside world, long before there were roads.
Related Reading: Day Hiking Packing List: Everything You Need to Stay Safe
Today, you can reach the villages by road. Fortunately, hikers can still retrace the ancient steps of merchants and craftsmen by hiking from village to village, over the stone arch bridges.
Travel tip: Be sure to ask the locals the legends of each bridge. Each one has a secret story!
2000 Km of Hiking Trails in Epirus, Greece Alone
There are literally hundreds of day hikes you could choose from. There is an incredible 2000km of trails! I plan to return at some point and hike through Vikos Gorge.
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Hiking Vikos Gorge
It’s the deepest gorge in the world at 120 – 490m!
It takes approximately 7 hours to hike. The trail is a 20 km long trail. It’s best done in summer or early fall when the river is shallow. Always check with the tourist office first to be sure the water levels are OK.
As you do need to be very careful of the water levels and the start and endpoint are 20 km apart, I’d recommend doing a full-day tour with a guide. Not only will you get lots of useful information but you can be sure that it’s safe to do it. And it saves you the hassle of trying to figure out how to get back to your car at the starting point.
Alternatively, if that’s too strenuous, consider this tour to Vikos Gorge which is an easy 3-hour hike.
Village-to-Village Hiking in Epirus, Greece
Besides, Vikos Gorge, the village-to-village hiking really caught my attention. My motto is adventure seeker by day, luxury seeker by night.
Hiking all day and then retreating to a nice hotel in a historic village enjoying some delicious Greek food and wine is my ideal trip!
And with 46 villages within the park, there’s no shortage of villages to choose from. I stopped for coffee in Kipi. It’s a small hillside village with buildings made of stone and heavy slate roofs.
I spent an hour walking around Kallartyes, a village with 15 people, and no that wasn’t a typo, 15 people.
It also happens to be the coolest wine cellar tour I’ve ever done with art installations built into the cellar!
But perhaps even a bigger surprise than the fantastic hiking opportunities in North Pindos National Park.
THERE ARE BEARS!
And no not ones that lived in Greece long ago, but ones that live in the present.
Just ask Maria from the Katogi Averoff Hotel & Winery who told me:
Bears are the best consumers. They eat 20% of the grapes, starting with the white, then moving on to the red.
That knocked my socks off! I had NO idea there were bears in Greece. So a warning if you’re hiking. Be careful to store your food properly! Unfortunately, I didn’t see one…yet another reason to return to Epirus…and discover more secrets!
Related Reading: Greek Cyclades Islands of Tinos and Naxos Hiking Tour
Location of Epirus
Travel Tips for Epirus, Greece:
- It’s ~ a 6-hour drive to Ioannina from Athens. I highly recommend stopping at Meteora along the way. Spend at least a day there checking out the monasteries on cliffs.
- Ioannina makes a great base for a couple of days if you’re doing day trips. However, I would also recommend staying in the smaller villages as well like Metsovo.
- This is a really remote part of Greece. Therefore public transportation options are limited. If you want to easily visit villages and hike, I would recommend renting a car for getting around.
- Alternatively, you can book a private tour of Epirus with hotel pickup.
Besides hiking, be sure to try rafting on the Voidomatis River.
- Check out VisitGreece.gr for further information.
Consider hiking in Greece, especially Epirus if you’re looking for a hidden paradise, gorgeous landscapes, medieval villages and incredible food.
Disclosure: I was a guest of VisitGreece.gr. As always all opinions are my own.